The Buffalo Sabres took to the ice on Thanksgiving Eve to take on the very strong Montreal Canadiens, falling to them 3-1. Montreal’s power-play was key in the victory, as Montreal scored 2 of their 3 goals of the night with the man advantage.
Ryan Miller, an almost certain starter for the US Olympic team, was back in net again, facing off against the possible Canada starter Carey Price in a “showdown of stoppers” duel.
The first period was very even at the start, with teams trading shots. Buffalo trailed off towards the middle of the first, and Montreal took over from there, spending a large amount of time in the
Luke Adam looked like he had given Buffalo the early lead when a pass from Mikhail Grigorenko found his stick all alone to the left of Price. However, the puck jumped over Adam’s stick and was unable to put the puck away.
It would, in fact, be Montreal that recorded the first goal of the night, courtesy of Alex Galchenyuk.
On a rush, Lars Eller carried the puck up the left side of the ice, with Andrei Markov and Alex Galchenyuk following closely. Driving to the net, Eller dropped the puck to Markov, who wristed the shot. Originally, Markov was credited with the goal, but upon further review, it was noted that the puck deflected off of Galchenyuk prior to it entering the net.
At the end of the first, Buffalo trailed the Canadiens, 1-0. The Canadiens held a 9-5 lead on shots in the opening period.
In the second period, Buffalo once again started strong, but fell off the pressure once again.
A little over halfway into the second, Marcus Foligno went into the box on a roughing call, giving Montreal the powerplay.
P.K. Subban received a pass at the top of Buffalo’s zone and ripped a hard slapshot. David Desharnais was able to put a stick on the puck and deflect it past Miller to put Montreal up, 2-0.
Trying to get on the board somehow, Buffalo kept pressing Price and Montreal’s defense, just hoping for something to happen.
With a clearing of the puck down the ice, Drew Stafford applied pressure to P.K. Subban, checking him and picking up the loose puck. Stafford quickly threw a backhanded pass to the front of the net, where Matt Moulson was rushing in. Moulson picked the puck up and over Price’s shoulder to cut the Canadiens lead in half, 2-1.
The goal was Moulson’s first with the Sabres since his 2-goal performance in his first game as a Sabre. His goal came at the 17:30 mark of the second.
At the end of the second, the score was locked at 2-1, with the Habs holding a 16-14 edge in shots.
The third, noticeably the best period for Buffalo, didn’t fair well in tonights game.
Moulson’s goal lit a fire under the Sabres bench, suddenly they were fighting deep and along the boards, making great passes, and started to create chances. Unfortunately, just like the other periods, the Sabres fell back and Montreal picked up.
At the 6:34 mark, John Scott and Douglas Murray dropped the gloves after Scott tried to tap a puck past Price that Marcus Foligno almost scored with, sending Scott and Murray off to the penalty box for five minutes.
Penalty problems continued to plague the Sabres, as Tyler Myers took a questionable boarding call at the 11:17 mark. Buffalo luckily fought off this penalty, but like a bad cold, it just did not get any better.
Tyler Ennis took a bad interference call with under 2 minutes left in the game, and Montreal took this advantage.
Brendan Gallagher took a pass from Desharnais and ripped a slap shot from the slot that sailed over Millers shoulder and Montreal now led by two goals with a little over a minute and a half left to go.
Nolan pulled Miller with 1:36 left in third, hoping to spark the team, but were unable to make any magic happen, and the buzzer ended this heartbreaking game with a score of 3-1.
The loss puts Buffalo at a measly 5-20-1, and the Sabres continue their homestand Friday night when Toronto returns to town, 7:30PM.
Have a great thanksgiving!